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Bhawani Devi clinches gold in fencing championship at Reykjavik

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666   //    28 May 2017, 22:40 IST
Bhawani, who hails from Chennai, got the better of Sarah Jane Hampson of Great Britain in the final game

What’s the story?

Bhavani Devi of India has made the country proud after securing the gold medal in a fencing championship held at Reykjavik. In doing so, she becomes the first Indian ever to have won a gold medal in an international fencing competition.

Delighted with her success, a beaming Bhavani told PTI from Reykjavik: “This is my third time in this competition. I have lost in quarterfinals in previous years. Now I have won my first medal. It is also the first medal in world level competition as I have won medals in Asian and Commonwealth championships.

"There were 26 participants from 8 countries in this event and the competition only got tougher from the quarterfinals stage.”

Attributing her success to her current coach Nicola Zanetti, Bhavani said, “He knows me for a long time even when I wasn't training with him. I trained with him for few months last year, and then from this March I have been working with him. We both share a great understanding with each other and he knows how to motivate or improve my game.”

The context

Bhawani, who hails from Chennai, got the better of Sarah Jane Hampson of Great Britain in the final game of the Turnoi Satellite Fencing Championship at Reykjavik, Iceland with a scoreline of 15-13.

The heart of the matter

On her way to the final, Bhavani Devi knocked out Jessica Corby, also from Great Britain, 15-11 in the semi-final stage. In the final on Saturday, it was the talented Indian who came out on top against Sarah Jane Hampson in what was a closely contested affair.

Bhavani had come close to a gold previously but had to settle for the silver medal in a satellite event. It was third time lucky for Bhavani at this competition where she had been ousted at the quarterfinal stage in her previous attempts.

Bhavani was of the view that training in Italy with her coach, who unfortunately couldn’t be with her in this tournament, worked wonders for her. The sabre fencer, who is currently doing her MBA from St Joseph's engineering college, has a world rank of 57.

What’s next?

Next on Bhawani Devi’s agenda is the Moscow Grand Prix tournament to be held from June 2-4. After that, Bhawani will be participating at the Asian Championship from June 15-20.

Author’s take

With this victory, Bhawani Devi has not just put India on the world map but has also brought fame to the little-known sport of fencing in India. Just 23 years of age, Bhawani sure has a bright future ahead of her.

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